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Soil given low risk rating after 2011 outbreak of swine flu but ongoing level two quarantines to continue
Vaccinated people no longer have to follow lockdown restrictions in Austria
The government of Austria has lifted quarantines for 473 people who had been vaccinated against swine flu, but will keep seven zones in place.
The 27 November 2011 outbreak of the disease resulted in more than 4,400 hospitalisations. Officials have said that the outbreak was the biggest in Austrian history with around 170 deaths.
The original order for the quarantine contained restrictions that applied only to those who had received swine flu vaccination within three months.
But new information has shown the risk of serious illness was lower than in 2011, the interior ministry said.
Soil within a three-mile (five-kilometre) radius of farms was given a lower risk rating.
The zones remain intact, however, at the risk level two (very low risk) of a possible return of disease and at the level one (moderate risk) for dangerous strains.
The quarantine remains in place for those who had never been vaccinated or who had undergone no vaccinations, for example those who may have travelled to unaffected areas of the country or took an extended stay in the evacuated zones in the spring or autumn of 2011.
The quarantine for those who took antiviral medication is being lifted immediately.
“Quarantining people is always a controversial policy for health authorities, especially in times of the flu season,” said André Van Wagenen, head of the centre for epidemiological surveillance at the Austrian Institute for Health Protection.
“The important thing for us is to act correctly at all times,” he said.